The Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm (LUDDF) is located just across the road from the university campus and attracts hundreds of visitors every year. The farm operates in the top 2% on profitability, producing 17-1800 kg MS/ha from high quality irrigated pasture grown on the 160 ha milking platform. Operating with the support of the farm manager and some of the industry’s best farmers and technical input, LUDDF has lifted production through increasing efficiency across the business.
LUDDF is managed by the South Island Dairy Development Centre (SIDDC). SIDDC was established in 2001 to help the South Island dairy industry achieve continuous improvements in efficiency and productivity, and to promote innovation. An industry funded partnership of leading dairy sector organisations these partners work to promote the sustainable development of South Island dairying. This is done through collaborative research, education and training for farmers.
A network delivers consulting and field officers in one-on-one and group discussions, field days, farm and field officer visits, printed material in addition to the partners’ and SIDDC’s website. The South Island Dairy Development Centre is the hub of SIDDC activities, liaising between the partners, facilitating research and communications.
The primary aim at LUDDF is to develop and demonstrate world-best practice in dairy farm systems and transfer them to South Island dairy farms. The farm also tests and develops practical applications of new technologies to help maximise the use of pastoral production systems, while achieving a commercial return, protecting the environment, and considering the industry’s 4% productivity gain target.
To achieve these outcomes the strategic objectives underpinning decision making at LUDDF aim to:
- Increase productivity
- Maintain and reduce the farm’s total environmental footprint
- Operate within definable and acceptable animal welfare target
- Remain relevant to Canterbury [and South Island] dairy farmers by demonstrating practices achievable by leading and progressive farmers.
- LUDF is to accept a higher level of risk [than may be acceptable to many farmers] in the initial or transition phase of this project.
The focus for the 2020-2021 season is based on a nil-infrastructure, low input, low N-loss, system that optimises profit through maximizing MS production and reducing farm working expenses (<$4.00/kg MS). This is achieved by grazing optimal stock numbers (3.5 cows/ha) to encourage pasture quality and feeding 300 kg DM/cow of imported feed to enable cows to exceed 100% live weight in milk production (over 500 kg MS/cow or 1700 kg MS/ha). Pasture growth is also maintained through strategic application of 160 kg N/ha each year.
Each week there is a public farm walk at LUDDF and the discussion notes from that farm walk can be found here. Because of its commercial scale, LUDDF is often used as a benchmarking tool for smaller farm systems studies carried out at ADRDS and LURDF.
- Education and training – first-hand farm experience for students
- Research and development – leading research and development for the benefit of the primary sector
- Demonstration – for commercial farmers to take key learnings to apply to their own properties
- Scholarship support – for commercial profit to be applied to the support of future students.